Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 15th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> The Iron Man with One Leg—Juan Chin-yuan
The one-legged hero who was master of the skies, lands, and seas
       A car accident took away the use of Juan Chin-yuan’s left lower leg, but opened another door in life for him when he learned to swim to help with his rehabilitation. After he learned to swim, he fell completely in love with the sport, and turned from a man who could barely keep himself afloat in the water, to being a medal winner at the many swimming contests for the disabled that he participated in, and for this, Chin-yuan has had to put in much more effort than most other people. But the world beneath the waters was not enough to satisfy his ambition, so in 1992 he represented Taiwan to participate in the swimming competition at the Barcelona Paralympics in Spain. He was the first disabled athlete in Taiwan to ever complete the triathlon, he represented Taiwan to participate in the air pistol event at the 1996 Paralympics. In 2004, he went on to receive intermediate qualifications in paragliding, served as the chief of council for the Keelung Paragliding Team in 2005, and led the team to provide services in boosting the tourism industry in Keelung. His unswerving spirit of determination has amazed all those around him, making him a true “one-legged hero, master of the skies, lands, and seas.

First-born grandson of “Grandma Ah-guo, born to privilege and wealth
      Juan Chin-yuan, male, was born in 1955 in Keelung City. His family owned a business that profited greatly in the sales of tobacco and spirits, but the good days didn’t continue for long, and in no time at all, losses occurred, and the family even had to sell off several pieces of real estate. Chin-yuan was once the descendant of a wealthy family, but even though business went down and the family no longer lived in state, they could still get by. Chin-yuan had never enjoyed schooling, so at 15 he became apprenticed at a photography studio until he was 18, where he mastered his skills in photography, adding yet another talent to Chin-yuan’s ready stock.

The gentle, courteous truck driver
      After his years as an apprentice, he learned how to drive a truck. Juan Chin-yuan differed greatly from the ordinary truck drivers people normally meet with, because he neither smoked, drank, chewed betel nuts, and nor did he gamble. He was a very well mannered, well bred truck driver. It was during this time that he met his wife, and it was love at first sight for the both of them. Before he into mandatory military service in Kinmen, the two young people joined their hands in civil marriage.

      When he was 23 years old, he completed his military service, obtained his commercial truck driver’s permit, and worked by driving 12 ton trucks. Truck drivers are usually accompanied by an assistant, so they can load the trucks together. Chin-yuan wished to save the money needed to hire an assistant and spend it on the family, therefore he asked his wife to become his assistant.

One careless joke, a missing left leg
      On one of his rounds, a driver working at the same company wished to play a joke on him, but mistakenly drove into the driver’s seat in Chin-yuan’s truck. The truck front caved in, his left leg shattered upon impact, and fractures also occurred in his left hip bone. He was taken to the Ba Du Miner’s Hospital in Keelung.

      The doctors at Keelung Ba Du Miner’s Hospital deemed his situation critical, and suggested that his lower left leg be immediately amputated, but his family refused to accept this terrible fast, and transferred him to Chang Gung Hospital in Linkou. The medical team at Linkou presented the family with two options: one, to immediately amputate the left leg below the knee, or, if they chose not to do so, the leg might heal over time, but it may also deteriorate until the whole leg would have to go, and may even cause serious complications such as sepsis or cellulitis. The hospital left the decision to the family members to make.

      Juan’s father ultimately signed the surgery consent form, and made the painful decision to sacrifice Chin-yuan’s left lower leg. When he woke up, his left leg was missing from the knee down! He was thirty years old that year, and even though he fully felt the anxieties and pressure from problems of livelihood and income, Chin-yuan knew that, even without a leg, he still had the support of the many people that loved him. He knew that he must be strong, and, knowing this, he ceased to despair. Losing a leg did not rob him of the will to live, because then and there, he told himself that he would never bow down to fate, and that he face every single day with courage.

The newly-made patient comforts those whom had suffered long illnesses
      The optimistic Chin-yuan brought laughter and happiness even into the hospital wards. During the time he spent committed to hospital care, he kept himself busy with going to and from each hospital room, visiting and expressing compassion to those in the same boat as himself. It was then nearing the mid-autumn festival, and he even pushed other patients in their wheelchairs to go and admire the moon. For Chin-yuan, life was not about what he had lost, but was what he still possessed. He knew that life must be looked at from a positive, not negative point of view. He lived a healthy lifestyle, had great determination and willpower, and these positive traits inspired many patients in the hospital to look up to his example and try to be brave for themselves.

Choosing swimming as physical therapy, swimming his way towards health and success
      While confined to the hospital, the form of physical therapy he most often took part in was hydrotherapy, and that was where he got his idea of learning swimming as part of his physical rehabilitation. Swimming not only achieved this aim for him, his skills improved so much even he himself was much surprised, and changed the whole outlook of life for the man who had lost a leg. He dedicated himself to swimming, and even obtained licensing in life-saving, swim coaching and life-saving coaching. He worked as a life-saver at swimming pools, and was so dedicated and so good at his work he started teaching swimming as well. Some people looked askance at a swimming coach with only one leg, and questioned, can he really teach swimming? The best answer to these questions was his outstanding performance, and he quickly built a name for himself with his diligence, professionalism, and patience in coaching. He has taught swimming at the Keelung Municipal Swimming Pools for over 26 years now, and has given swimming lessons to almost 10,000 students already.

From water sports to land sports, and up into the air
      Chin-yuan’s sporting activities have extended from water sports to land sports since 1993, and has, for 18 consecutive years (19 races in total), participated in triathlon competitions. He was commended with the Outstanding Triathlete Award at the 2001 President Cup International Invitational Triathlon. He hopes that his life story will be a source of inspiration to other people with physical disabilities in making them realize how precious life truly is, thereby encouraging them to open their hearts, walk away from pain and grief, and take up the life that is waiting for them. His efforts in helping others have greatly surpassed that of ordinary healthy people.

      In 1999, Chin-yuan started paragliding, a demanding sport in itself, and especially so to a man wearing a prosthetic leg. He spent thrice more the time needed to train than others, participated in the 2004 Wind City Cup National Invitational Paragliding Tournament, and successfully obtained intermediate qualifications for paraglide coaching.

Taking up charity work, giving blessings to society
      Chin-yuan not only took life back in his own hands, he dedicated himself to public benefit and charity work wholeheartedly. In his spare time, his volunteered to teach swimming to the physically and mentally impaired, including whose wish physical disabilities, the mentally impaired, and the hearing impaired. For those with physical disabilities, the most important thing was for them to let go of their reservations, and to accept the imperfections of their bodies. For 26 years, he has helped to build and boost the confidence of many disabled persons in need, and many have benefited from his assistance for life.

      “Overcome your obstacle, for you shall overcome,” is Chin-yuan’s motto for life. Fate took away his lower left leg, but his soul remained intact. Physical impairments never got in the way of his determination to reach further beyond. He often encouraged those with disabilities to go into the outdoors, and never to set themselves any limitations. The one thing Chin-yuan wants to accomplish most in life is this: to use his own story of always challenging himself, and show people with physical disabilities that despite having only one leg, life had a way of working out after all. He hopes that those in despair will be inspired to face each day with hope and with courage.